Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter
|Featuring:||Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding Jr., Charlize Theron, Hal Holbrook, David Keith|
|Director:||George Tillman, Jr.|
|Producer:||Bill Cosby, Stanley Robertson, Bill Badalato, Robert Teitel|
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox|
“History is made by those who break the rules.”
Young Carl Brashear is told by his sharecropper father to be better and go farther in life than he did. Several years later, Brashear (Gooding) joins the Navy. After demonstrating his prowess as a swimmer, the young man is recommended to diving training camp. There he finds himself up against the racism in the military of the 1940’s and 1950’s, but Brashear is determined to make it. Billy Sunday (DeNiro) was once known as one of the best divers in the Navy, but he suffered an internal injury during a dive. Now he has been regulated to teaching instead of doing, and Sunday is not happy about it. He gives Brashear a hard time, but recognizes that the young man is talented.
Brashear’s story is a true one, although the movie does take some dramatic liberties with the actual events. He eventually became the first African-American Master Diver in the Navy. The Billy Sunday character did not actually exist, but he’s a composite of many bigoted ranking officers that Brashear encountered while in the Navy. Brashear and Sunday are mirror characters to each other. Brashear has to constantly prove that he is worthy of the responsibility of being a diver; Sunday has to constantly prove that he is worthy enough to continue wearing a Navy uniform.
There is no explicit sex, and some mild verbal sexual references. There is plenty of offensive language in the movie—both curse words and racial epithets—but this story takes place in the military world and most of the men, excuse the cliche, curse like sailors. Audiences should be more offended by the unfair treatment that Brashear suffered in his quest to be a Master Diver. This is ultimately a story of triumph over prejudice and adversity, as well as redemption.